Probably the first thing any new dog or puppy owner starts to think about is our new friend’s bathroom habits… or lack thereof. Whether you have a pupper, boofer, floofer, thicc boi, or any other adorable doggo, potty training is all about PATIENCE and POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT!
WHEN AND WHERE DO I START?
Both are valid questions. Let’s begin by addressing the WHEN. Leading experts say you should begin the house training when puppy is between 12 to 16 weeks old, at around the time they will start to figure out how to hold their #1’s or #2’s. If you have an older dog with bad habits of going potty in the house, we will address that later on in this article.
As far as where do I start, the first thing you want to consider is THERE WILL BE ACCIDENTS IN THE HOUSE!!! To help alleviate this, try to confine your canine companion to a smaller region within the house, such as a kennel, or block off small area of a room for them. This will not only help minimize the amount of damage that could potentially come from missed accidents or unknown mishaps, it will also give an opportunity for positive reinforcement down the road as the puppy learns to go outside more and more.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Take them to the same area of the lawn or outside to go to the bathroom. Their previous scent will encourage them to do their business
- Never get mad at them for making a toilet of the house. It only creates fear of you, and that’s the absolute last thing you want to do with such a precious gift that dogs are. Rather a loud clap of the hands will get them to hopefully take notice and stop what they’re doing so you can immediately and CALMLY take them outside to finish.
- Always follow up an outside success with praise and a treat. If you really want to be fur-mother or fur-father of the year, take the pup out for a leisurely walk around the block as a nice reward as well.
- Lastly, always take puppy outside FIRST THING IN THE MORNING and LAST POSSIBLE THING IN THE EVENING. That way puppy can learn that when we wake up, we go outside and do the doodoo, and start the day off with some nice positive reinforcement first thing in the A.M. Remember, CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
How Do I Know When My Puppy Needs to Go?
Dogs, much the same as people, all have unique personalities. This means the cues for “I have to go Boom-Boom” could differ between dogs, but they will all still follow a general behavioral pattern.
Remember earlier how I mentioned it is best to cordon off a special area just for the pup? While he or she is relaxing in their space, pay close attention to restless behavior. It is this restless behavior that is a telltale sign of an imminent bathroom break.
Restless behavior could mean anything from whining to barking, sniffing, turning in circles, groaning, or even just staring at you. My dog likes to lick our hands when she wants us to notice she has to use the bathroom. These signs are easier to pick up on and become almost second nature to you the more time you spend with your four-legged friend.
Don’t forget, the bathroom is the first activity of the day and the last activity of the night.
Puppy See, Puppy Do
It is also important to socialize dogs as well to give them an opportunity to learn how to interact with other dogs. This can come with many benefits, as older dogs can teach younger dogs.
This is a technique you can use to your advantage by having your puppy learn good potty habit from a dog that is already house-trained.
Having said that, this can also carry some drawbacks. Too much socializing with a dog that has bad habits can lead to your puppy learning some of those bad habits, such as excessive barking, territorial spraying, or aggression.
Adult Dogs With Bad House Habits
Often times, adopting a new dog can be stressful not just for yourself but also the dog. A change in environment is a massive change in lifestyle for an animal that really isn’t all that apprised of what is going on around them. How are they supposed to know that this is now their new “forever” home? As far as they are concerned, last night they were sleeping in one house, and now tonight they are sleeping in a foreign place.
Having said that, anxiety issues that lead to accidents in the house should clear up in a few days, or a couple of weeks at the maximum, provided you are patient and spending adequate time with your new family member.
If potty problems persist after your dog has become accustomed to their new environment, you will need to continue to work on potty training as if they were a puppy. Failing that, consult your veterinarian to test for potential underlying medical issues that may affect a dog’s bladder and bowel control.
Time and Patience Are KEY!
Just remember, your furry little friend may not learn as fast as you would sometimes hope. That’s why it is important you are spending as much time as possible with your pup and exercising maximum amounts of patience, as this can take up to a year for a puppy to be fully potty trained.
Remember to keep an eye on how often they are eating and drinking, and every half hour is a decent time to take them outside to do their business.
Consistency in a bathroom area on the lawn, schedule, and affirmation will ultimately prevail until your little pupper graduates to being a fully housebroken doggo and a functioning member of your family.
If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment below and help out other readers in the community with your experiences and findings. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to providing you more great content in the future.